people detained, 76,316 tried, 50,455 condemned;
thousands are still tried at
military or state security courts
SHAMEFUL RECORD OF THE
10-YEAR STATE TERRORISM
A recent evaluation that we have made on data given
by different Turkish authorities and newspapers proves that state
terrorism applied since the proclamation of martial law in December
1978 up to the end of 1987 reaches shameful dimensions.
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of February 9,
1988, security forces have detained 630,000 people in the course of
this 10-year period. Of these people, 200,000 have been released after
a first police interrogation and 105,000 others after being
transferred to prosecutors' offices. Even during a few days of
detention, they have got their share from the police cruelty.
As for 325,000 other detainees, they have been the
object of legal proceedings and kept in military detention houses for
months during investigation carried out by military prosecutors. By
virtue of the Martial Law Code, military prosecutors have been
authorized to keep any person in detention without court warrant for a
period of up to three months. During this period, all detainees have
been subjected to torture or degrading treatment.
Following these painful days of investigation,
76,316 people have been taken before tribunals, while 250,000 people
founded "not guilty" were being released by prosecutors. Of the
indicted people 61,461 have been tried at military courts while only
14,855 defendants transferred to civil tribunals.
Up to now, 50,455 people have been sentenced: 566 to
capital punishment and 49,889 others to different prison terms.
According to a communiqué issued on April 18,
1986, by the General Staff Headquarters, the distribution of the given
judgments until February 28, 1986, was as follows:
480 to capital punishment,
693 to life-prison,
973 to a 20-year prison term,
2,502 to prison terms of from 10 up to 20 years,
6,843 to prison terms of from 5 up to 10 years,
11,472 to prison terms of from 1 up to 5 years,
25,025 to prison terms of up to 1 year.
Since then, during the 2-year period of "civil
regime", 88 people have been condemned to capital punishment and 2,381
to differents terms of imprisonment.
Almost the totality of these defendants, with the
exception of those founded liable to capital punishment or life-prison
for political violence, have been condemned by virtue of Articles 141,
142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Borrowed from Mussolini's Penal Code in 1936 and
aggravated later on, Articles 141 and 142 stipulate imprisonment of up
to 20 years for Marxist organization or propaganda. As for Article 163,
it stipulates to sentence to a prison term of up to 15 years whoever
contravenes the principle of secularity (separation of State affairs
Another article of the Turkish Penal Code, No. 140,
takes as target the regime's opponents abroad. Thousands of people have
been summoned to return to Turkey and to be tried before military
courts according to Article 140 which stipulates prison terms of up to
20 years for anti-State activities abroad. About 14,000 people abroad
have been deprived of Turkish nationality for not surrendering
Arbitrary raise of prison terms
One of the astonishing aspects of the 10-year State
terrorism is that, according to the Martial Law Code No. 1402 adopted
on September 19, 1980, martial law tribunals have been authorized
to increase prison terms by a third or a half. It means that a
defendant tried at a military court can be condemned to a punishment
heavier than that of any other defendant who is condemned for the same
act in a civil tribunal. If this law can be annulled, many political
prisoners condemned by military tribunals will immediately be released.
But according to the Provisional Article 15 of the Constitution, any
law or decree adopted by the National Security Council (military junta)
cannot be annulled even by the National Assembly.
Another exceptional practice has been the
condemnation of many defendants to complementary heavy prison terms of
up to 20 years only for the words that they pronounced either during
interrogation or in the text of their defence. Only in Istanbul, three
military tribunals have condemned 87 defendants to complementary prison
terms of 555 years, 3 months and 16 days in total.
LAST ONE MONTH'S PRACTICES
Five years after the so-called "return to
democracy", all kinds of antidemocratic practices such as arrests of
political militants, torture, mass trials, condemnations to heavy
prison terms, persecution of intellectuals, ban and confiscation of
publications, depriving the regime's opponents of Turkish
nationality, go on as before in Turkey.
Moreover, despite the lifting of martial law, many
political mass trials opened during the military rule are still going
on at military tribunals. Mainly, 1909 alleged members of Dev-Yol are
tried at three military tribunals in Ankara, Adana and Erzincan, 1374
alleged members of Dev-Sol , 335 from MLSPB i, 376 from TKP-ML and 197
from Unity of Action (EP) at the military tribunal of Istanbul and
hundreds of alleged militants the Kurdish party PKK at military courts
of Diyarbakir, Adana, Elazig and Malatya.
As for the DISK Trial, ended in the 264 trade union
leaders' condemnation to prison terms of up to 10 years, the file has
not yet been sent to the Military Court of Cassation because the
military court of Istanbul has written up to now only 4,000 pages of
the 10,000-page final decision.
To give an idea on the continuation of State
terrorism, we are resuming below only the record of last one month.
Persecution of intellectuals
o Six years after that Yilmaz Güney's film Yol
obtained the Golden Palm award in Cannes in 1982, the Public Prosecutor
of Istanbul indicted the film director Serif Goren and his assistant
Muzaffer Hicdurmaz for separatist propaganda. The prosecutor considers
that the presentation of the Southeastern Anatolia as "Kurdistan" in
the said film contravenes Articles 140 and l42/3 of the Turkish Penal
Code. By the virtue of these articles, two filmmakers face prison terms
of up to 30 years each. Although this film had been shot by the accused
filmmakers in Turkey on a scenario drawn up by Güney, the final montage
of the film was carried out abroad by Güney after he escaped from
prison and fled Turkey in 1981. After his success in Cannes,
Güney died in exile in 1983.
o Mr. Aziz Nesin, humorist and chairman of the
Writers' Union of Turkey (TYS) and Mr. Mehmet Ali Aybar, former
chairman of the defunct Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP), were brought
before the State Security Court in Istanbul on January 19, 1987, for
their declarations on the Kurdish Question appeared in the weekly
2000'e Dogru. Both face prison terms of up to 15 years for "attempting
to weaken and to destroy national feelings by means of publication". In
the same case, the responsible editor of the weekly, Mr. Fatma Yazici
too is tried and risks same prison term.
o Economist Arslan Baser Kafaoglu, journalist Emil
Galip Sandalci, publisher Ragip Zarakolu, Arslan Kahraman and Adnan
Aktas were brought before a criminal court in Istanbul on January 20,
1988, for some articles appeared in the daily Demokrat prior to the
1980 Coup. They are accused of giving support to an extreme left
organization and making communist propaganda in the newspaper. Demokrat
had been closed down by the military eight years ago. Defendants face
prison terms of up to 10 years each.
o In Adana, publisher of the daily Yeni Osmaniye,
Mr. Hüseyin Unaldi was arrested on January 21, 1988, on the accusation
of insulting Public Prosecutor and Governor of the district. The
prosecutor claims a prison term of up to three years for the journalist.
o The editor of the satirical weekly Limon, Mr.
Mehmet Tuncay Akgün was condemned to a 3-month prison termon January
19, 1988, by a criminal court in Istanbul for having insulting the wife
of Prime Minister Ozal.
Confiscation of publications
o On January 14, 1988, the Public Security Direction
of Izmir distributed to all booksellers and libraries a new list
containing the titles of 2,028 books of which the selling is forbidden.
The works of many famous Turkish and foreign authors, poets, political
leaders, cartoonists and scholars, such as the Relativity Theory of
Albert Einstein, and even the official telephone book of Istanbul take
part in this black list. Some of these books had been the object of
legal proceedings and acquitted later on by court decisions.
o A new best-seller, What kind of democracy we want?
written by Prof. Server Tanilli was confiscated on the decision of the
State Security Court on January 25, 1988. The author is accused, by the
prosecutor, of making propaganda for separatism by raising the question
of democratic rights of the Kurdish people in the book. Author of many
other works on the question of human rights, Prof. Tanilli had been
shot and paralyzed by Grey Wolves prior to the coup. Since the
coup he has been at the Strasbourg University as guest professor.
o According to the daily Cumhuriyet of January 11,
1988, since the military coup of 1980, Turkish governments have banned
the introduction into Turkey 440 different publications appeared
abroad. 267 publications have been banned by the military government up
to 1983 and 173 others by the governments headed by Ozal since then.
The black list of the banned publications contains 195 books, 106
periodicals, 46 pamphlets, 22 newspapers, 7 newsletters, 32
communiques, 3 postcards, 1 poster, 5 calendars, 2 maps, 6 albums, 1
program, 8 poem, 2 musicassettes, 2 touristic guides, 1 article and 13
different kinds of publications.
o On January 26, the State Security Court decided
also to confiscate the 21. and 23. issues of the monthly Yeni Demokrasi
on the charge of containing communist propaganda.
Depriving opponents of nationality
On the question of the political émigrés deprived of
Turkish citizenship the Turkish Government behaves double-facedly.
While some ministers of the government are claiming that they seek a
solution for this problem, the practice of depriving the regime's
opponents of nationality is stilled carried on.
Recently, writer Temel Demirer, a political émigré
living in Paris, has been victim of this practice.
On the other hand, a famous Turkish singer, Mr. Cem
Karaca, despite the fact that he returned from exile to Turkey on the
guarantee given by Ozal himself, was indicted on January 13, 1988, on
the charge of having led activities harmful to the interests of the
Turkish State abroad. The prosecutor claims prison term of not
less than 5 years by virtue of Article 140 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Political trials and arrests
4.1, the trial of 25 alleged members of PKK, whose
22 under arrest, begins at the State Security Court of Diyarbakir. They
face prison terms of up to 15 years.
9.1, in Izmir, police arrests 16 people, whose four
women, for attempting to reorganize the TDKP.
11.1, six alleged members of THKP-C are brought
before the State Security Court in Malatya.
12.1, in Siirt, security forces arrest 18 people on
charge of supporting an outlawed organization.
15.1, at the trial of 813 alleged Dev-Yol members,
started in 1983, military prosecutor claims death sentences for 115
defendants and different prison terms of up to 15 years for 382 others.
The defendants are accused of having set up a Marxist-Leninist
organization in the city of Fatsa. The defendant No.1 of the trial,
former Fatsa mayor Fikri Sonmez had earlier died because of
ill-treatment in prison.
16.1, in Izmir, the political police takes into
custody 106 persons during a raking operation against left-wing
organizations. Among the detainees are also representatives of
left-wing reviews Yeni Cözüm, Yeni Asama and Yarin.
Tortures and ill-treatment
The Association for Solidarity with the Prisoners'
Families (TAYAD), on January 27, 1988, addressed to the Speaker of the
National Assembly a common petition signed by 25 thousand people
and demanding to put an end to torture and ill-treatment in
Before leaving Istanbul, the TAYAD delegation held a
press conference in Istanbul, by the side of the graves of two victims
of the repression, Haydar Basbag and Fatih Ökütülmüs, who died during a
hunger-strike made in 1984.
The group spokesman said that, despite the promise
of ameliorating the prison conditions, many families were not allowed
to visit their imprisoned parents, sons or daughters, even on the eve
of New Year. Some of those who were allowed to visit, were detained
later on by inventing some pretexts.
In the prison of Sinop, the prisoners who refuse to
wear prison uniform are not allowed to have shower for months.
As for the association itself, its many leading
members have been subjected to legal proceedings and brought before
tribunals. Seven out of 16 postal cards issued by TAYAD have been
confiscated on pretext that they contain separatist propaganda.
On the other hand, the officials of Human Rights
Association of Istanbul (IHD) were tried at a criminal court on January
28, for their rally made in December against torture and death
On January 8, local SHP officials in Siirt announced
that 57 people had been detained and tortured for 16 days by security
forces. Among the detainees were also eight members of the SHP. Two
days later, on January 10, SHP Deputy Fuat Atalay, accompanied by a
group of tortured people, held a press conference in Diyarbakir and
said: "The torture apparatus used at the Diyarbakir police center did
not exist even in the Germany of Hitler. The people often undergo an
unprecedented pressure as if their region is under the occupation of a
hostile state." Atalay said also that the local SHP chairman in
Kiziltepe, Mr. Selanik Oner had been tortured for 29 days.
The Plenary Assembly of the Cassation Court judged
on January 17, 1988, that if a detainee is beaten during his
interrogation so as to be incapable to work for less than one week,
this act cannot be considered as torture. This high court, claiming
that such an act can be considered as an unrespect to human dignity,
ratified a 10-month prison term to a police superintendent who
had beaten a woman during interrogation. If the act were considered as
torture, the superintendent would be condemned to a 5-year prison term.
On January 19, at a panel on torture organized by
TAYAD in Istanbul, Chairman of the Rehabilitation Center for Tortured
People (RCT), Dr. Ingle Lunde and Psychiatrist Rorgen Ortian, said that
at least 30 victims of torture from Turkey have been treated at their
center in Denmark and they established that at least 34 kinds of
torture methods were practiced on victims by the Turkish police. RCT
representatives added that their center has treated about 200 people
from different countries of the world and they would open a branch of
the center in Istanbul.
After this panel, on January 21, 1988, a group of
distinguished intellectuals of Turkey launched a new signature campaign
for annulling the repressive articles 140, 141, 142 and 163 of the
Turkish Penal Code and stopping torture practices. Among the first
signatories are Chairman Aziz Nesin and other members of the Writers'
Union of Turkey (TYS).
SHAKY PROGRESS IN TURCO-EEC RELATIONS
While the European Parliament was adopting a new
resolution on the situation of human rights in Turkey, a delegation of
the European Communities Commission visited Turkey on January 19-20,
1988, with a view to collecting informations on the spot to be used at
preparation of the Commission's view as regards the Turkish demand of
accession to the Communities.
Ankara had applied for EEC membership on April 14,
1987. Three days later, the foreign ministers of the 12 European
Community countries agreed to refer Turkey's application to the
Commission for a protracted study of the problems involved.
Mr. Jean Durieaux, chief of Claude Cheysson's
office, and M. Jacques Schwed, chief of the EEC's Turkish Desk, had
talks at technical level with the concerned ministries and the State
The EEC team said that the Commission would take
into account also the information on Turkey's economic, social and
financial situation provided by the IMF, the World Bank and the EEC
Meanwhile, the Ankara Government in another move
asked the European Communities to hold the Turkey-EEC Association
Council. On this demand, the Chairman-in-office the EC Council of
Ministers, announced that the Association Council would take place on
April 25, 1988 in Brussels.
Turkey, since 1963, is an associate member of the
European Communities and this Assocation Council is a high-level organ
to seek solutions to the problems arising between two sides. However,
the meetings of the Association Council was unilaterally suspended by
the European Communities after the military coup of 1980.
After a 6-year interval, the Council met again in
September 1986, but this meeting was only a simple resumption of
contact without any practical decision.
No doubt, at the coming meeting in April, the
Turkish side will bring to the table some practical questions, but
insist rather on the Turkish accession to the Communities. To the end
of gaining over the governments of some member countries, State
Secretary Ali Bozer will start a new round in Europe.
On the other hand, the visit of the French Foreign
Minister to Ankara on January 11 and the announcement of Queen
Elizabeth's invitation to "President of the Republic" Kenan Evren are
considered in Ankara good signs for the improvement of Turco-European
One major barrier to progress in Turkey-EEC
relations has remained its strained relations with Greece and the
problem of Cyprus.
Following a highly publicised, though confidential,
exchange of letters between Prime Ministers Ozal and Papandreou last
November, relations between the two Aegean neighbours have improved
It is at the summit meeting held on January 30-31 in
Davos (Switzerland) that Papandreou and Ozal agreed to resolve the
problems exiting between the two countries and to meet each year to
This was the first important meeting after a 10-year
interval. The last meeting at this level had taken place between
Karamanlis and Ecevit in Montreux (Switzerland) in 1978.
At a common press conference Ozal and
Papandreou said their talks were held in an atmosphere of comprehension
and good will. Two premiers decided to set up two commissions: the
first will be charged with developing economic cooperation (tourism,
commerce, transport and joint ventures) and cultural relations and the
second for seeking solutions to the problems which divide the two
countries such as Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. They also agreed to set up
a council of business or a common chamber of commerce and industry.
A few days later, as a first gesture of good will,
the Turkish Government decided on February 5, 1988, to annul the decree
of 1964 which prevent the restitution of the real properties of 12,000
Greeks having left Turkey in the years 1960, during the crisis of
Cyprus. The value of these real properties is estimated at 300 millions
This progress in the Turco-Greek relations is
considered by the Turkish press as a very important move in the process
of Turkish accession to the European Communities.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S RESOLUTION ON THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN
The European Parliament adopted on January 21, 1988,
a new resolution on human rights in Turkey, though it had approved one
day before two protocols to EEC-Turkey Association Agreement, the first
consequent on the accession of Spain and Portugal to the Community and
the second on Turkish export to the EEC.
The resolution on human rights in Turkey reads:
"The European Parliament,
"A. whereas there are 154 death sentences pending in
"B. whereas the recently re-elected head of
government, Ozal, told a group of foreign special envoys some days ago
that the Turkish Parliament would examine the said death sentences,
approve some of them and commute the remained to 30 years imprisonment,
"C. mindful that since the military coup of 1980, 50
persons have been hung, 26 of them for political crimes, and two during
Ozal's period in office and that since martial law was declared in
1978, 500 deaths sentences have passed,
"D. whereas some leaders of the legal opposition,
e.g. Erdal Inönü, have set themselves the task of abolishging this
'state-sanctioned torture', by revising the Constitution,
"E. whereas Turkey has applied to join the European
"F. recalling that its Resolution of 19 November
1987 calling for the release of Mr. Sargin and Mr. Kutlu have still
elicited no reponse from the Turkish authorities,
"G. having regard to the announcement that Turkey is
to sign the Convention on the prohibition of torture, although it has
still not responded to Parliament's demand for an inquiry into the
torture of Mr. Kutlu and Mr. Sargin,
"H. having regard to its Resolution of 18 October
1987 on the arrest on the night of 17-18 June 1987 of a young French
tourist guide, Michel Caraminot, accused without evidence of
pro-Armenian and Pro-Kurdish propaganda,
"I. whereas, on 7 December 1987, the Diyarbakir
Criminal Court sentenced Michel Caraminot in his absence to five years
imprisonment with no remission, despite the fact that the Diyarbakir
Public Prosecutor himself recommended that he be acquitted since thete
was no case against him,
"J. wehereas Mr. Mehdi Zana, the former
democratically elected Mayor of Diyarbakir, who was arrested in
September 1980, was sentenced to a total of 32 years imprisonment for
'separatist activioties', although he has neither committed nor
advocated acts of violence and was not charged with doing so, and
whereas he has been adopted by Amnesty International as a 'prisoner of
"K. whereas even after his appeal against his
sentences he still remains in prison in Turkey, sentenced to 22 years 8
"L. noting that a new report by the Helsinki Watch
Committee on 'Human Rights in Turkey' (December 1987) concluded
'Unfortunately, our expectations for continued human rights progress in
Turkey have not yet been fulfilled',
"M. reaclling the resolution adopted by the European
Parliament on 11 December 1986, which reiterated its concern on this
subject and called for action by the Turkish authorities to restore
full human rights observance, and its resolution of 18 June 1987,
"1. Calls on the recently re-elected head of the
Government of Turkey, the Turkish Parliament and the President of the
Republic to take the necessary steps to commute all death sentences
pending in the country, until such time as this abominable penalty is
"2. Protests against the sentence imposed on and the
treatment meted out to the young French guide, Michel Caraminot;
"3. Calls on the Turkish Government to take a
positive step by releasing Mr. Mehdi Zana from imprisonment immediately;
"4. Calls on the Foreign Ministers meeting in
European political cooperation to make representations to the Turkish
authorities with a view to ensuring that the case of Michel Caraminot
is reviewed, since he has committed no offence;
"5. Instructs its President to forward this
resolution to the Commission, the Council of Europe, the President of
the Turkish Republic and the President of the Turkish Parliament."
CONCLUSIONS OF THE BEYER DE RYKE MISSION
On the other hand, Belgian Liberal Mr. Luc Beyer de
Ryke, president of the delegation of observers of the European
Parliament, transmitted on January 26, 1988, to the Political Affairs
Committee, the following conclusions of the delegation's visit to
Turkey held in November 1987:
- Many Turkish political circles seem very sensible
to the reactions of the West on the matter of the violation of human
rights. By the side of these circles, there is an independent justice
which is more repressive than political power.
- There is still an unknown which can be named
'military huis clos' because nobody knows what are the role and the
will of the Army.
- Concerning the legalisation of the Turkish
Communist Party, The Turkish authorities, referring to the
fundamentalist islamic movement, say: "To legalise the one will open
the way to the legalisation of the other. So it will serve to the rise
- Having had contacts with the islamic party, Mr. De
Ryke noticed that, although the grass-roots and local organizations of
this party claim without any ambiguity the application of the Sharia in
Turkey and are afraid that the Turkish accession to the EEC will result
in the loss of the nation's spirit, the hierarchy did not talk of the
Islam and argued only on their economic anxieties.
- Drawing the conclusions from his short visit in
the Kurdish provinces, Mr. De Ryke said: "I saw a province which was
not at all rebellious, but was living in a state of insecurity. The
population was anxious to speak its own language without apparently
claiming necessarily the whole of cultural and political elements such
as schools or a "'State'..."
In conclusion, M. De Ryke considers that the
European Parliament finds itself before two alternatives:
- To wait for that Turks themselves make the
housework by adopting, as potential candidates to adhesion, their norms
to those of the Community, especially by reforming the Penal Code, the
rights to defense and the trade union rights.
- The elections having marked a significative step,
isn't it better to encourage those who wish more democracy, more
modernisation and a European anchorage?
The reply to this question will be sought during the
debates on the report of German Socialist Gerd Walter, first at the
Political Affairs Committee, later on at the Plenary Meeting of the
ORAL QUESTION AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
On January 26, 1988, after the communication from
the Committee of Ministers, French Communist Deputy Mr. Bordu,
recalling that two leaders of the Turkish Communist Party were arrested
while visiting their country on 16 November 1987, and that their two
lawyers were themselves arrested an prevented from contacting and
defending their clients; and noting that reliable sources indicate that
the two TKP leaders are being tortured and thus that their physical
well-being is seriously in danger, in spite of certain, supposedly
official, assurances, to the contrary; wishing to know the conclusions
reached by the European delegation to Ankara, asked the Chairman of the
Committe of Ministers "What action he intends to take to help secure
the release of the two Communist leaders and of all political
prisoners, and to establish democracy and respect for human rights in
this Council of Europe member country."
Mr. Jacques Poos, Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Luxembourg and Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers,
replied this question as follows:
"Although the subject of this question has not been
discussed in the Committee of Ministers, you will remember that at the
colloquy between Ministers and Representatives of the Parliamentary
Assembly in November 1987 it was raised by other members of your
Assemblè, who were answered by my colleague, the then Turkish Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Halefoglu. At the end of his statement, Mr.
Halefoglu made particular reference to measures taken in Turkey to
strengthen the democratic process.
"I understand that the case of MM Kutlu and Sargin
is pending in Turkey. I would remind the honourable member that Turkey
has now signed and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and
recognised the right of individual petition before the European
Commision of Human Rights, with which certain individual applications
against Turkey have already been lodged.
"Also, an important new development which the
Assembly will certainly welcome is Turkey's signature a few days ago of
the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It is to be hoped that speedy
ratification by a sufficient number of member states will permit the
early entry into force of this convention, which I referred to in my
speech, to be put in motion.
"I might add that the European Parliament adopted in
November 1987 a resolution on the arrest of the persons referred to in
Mr Bordu's question, to the conclusions of which I can subscribe."
In fact, the Turkish Government on January 11, 1988,
signed the Council Of Europe Agreement on the Struggle Against Torture.
The agreement provides for independent teams of experts to investigate
torture complaints fully, including visits to prisons, police stations,
and other state institutions like psychiatric hospitals. According to
The Guardian of January 12, 1988, diplomats in Ankara regarded the
signing as proof Turkey realises it must improve the human rights image
as it tries to become a full member of the European Community.
Nevertheless, dissatisfied with the Minister's
reply, Mr. Bordu said that the arrest of the Communist leaders and
their lawyers was a fundamental violation of human rights. That, as
well as reports of torture showed that the Turkish Government despite
signing international agreements, was still guilty of unacceptable
actions. He asked what the Committee of Ministers indented to do about
Mr. Poos said that Mr. Bordu was expressing a
personal view rather than asking a question. However, he noted that
each Council of Europe state was entitled to raise questions on human
rights in other member states. And he hoped that the Turkish Government
would take note of the issued raised.
UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN EDUCATION IN TURKEY
(From TOB-DER INFO of January 1988)
Today Turkey is a country where
there are more than 10 million illiterates out of a population of 50
million; where 200 thousand school-age children are unable to attend
school; where only half of the student at secondary school-age can have
such an education; where only 8% of young people, i.e. one in every
fifty, can attend universities, where they receive an insufficient and
a low-level quality higher education. In the biggest city, Istanbul, in
some schools students do nothing during many teaching hours because
there are no teachers, meanwhile in east and southeast of the country
where Kurdish population lives the number of schools that could not be
opened at the beginning of school-year due to lack of teachers reached
to grave dimensions. Overall in 83% of schools in Turkey there is a
lack of educating staff. At the beginning of 1986 only in primary and
secondary level there existed 38 thousand vacancies in teaching
Let's look at some facts to
understand how these conditions are reflected in field of education and
to estimate the losses in cultural field. In appearance, everything is
in order in the field of education and following the "campaign against
illiteracy" initiated by the military regime in 1981, the rate of
literates in population has risen from 67.2% to 83.2%, and 4,033,072
persons have learned to read and write during this "campaign". But how
true this can be? Let's give some self-explanatory numbers from daily
o In years following the 1980
coup, 39 tons of publications and books have been sent to state owned
paper factory to be recycled, in other words to be destroyed.
o The number of readers using the
National Library decreased from 158,657 in 1979 to 23,819 in 1983.
o Meanwhile the military regime
continued to declare opening of "new universities" whose number reached
to 28, total number of books in these "universities" libraries appears
so ridiculous in comparison to European standards. The total is
3,955,771 and out of this total 1 million 16 thousand books belong the
o Due to heavy censorship,
repression and price increases book and newspaper circulation decreased
o Between 1980-84, total
imprisonment sentences given to writers, translators and journalists
reached to 316 years 4 months 20 days. Now the imprisonment sentence
total is expressed in thousands.
All these facts show the
"importance" given to education by the regime established after 12
Before discussing inequality
based on sex, we should mention inequality in education in general
terms. According to 1981 figures, population of Turkey is 51,420,757
and male-female distribution of this population is almost equal.
The give a more realistic
picture, we divide this population into three groups:
First group: Istanbul, Ankara,
Izmir (the three biggest cities) with a total population of 11,664,281.
Second group: East and Southeast
regions where mostly Kurdish population lives. Total population:
Third group: Population living in
other regions outside the first two groups. Total population:
30,664,502. (All figures are taken from State Statistics Institute
TOTAL NUMBER OF STUDENTS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN 1981-82
1. group 1,154,220 558,206
2. group 1,017,256 384,701
3. group 3;688,714 1.754,682
TOTAL NUMBER OF TEACHERS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN 1981-82
1. group 35,014 20,368
2. group 33,542 9,717
3. group 141,615 56,955
NUMBER OF VILLAGE NOT HAVING PRIMARY SCHOOLS
a) Number of villages without schools: 2,160
b) Those having temporary or prefabric schools:
1. group a) 52 b) 121
2. group a) 1,206 b) 853
3. group a) 902 b) 2,543
NUMBER OF TEACHERS TEACHING SEVERAL CLASSES TOGETHER
TEACHING TWO TEACHING FIVE
CLASSES TOGETHER CLASSES TOGETHER
1. group 1,806 554
2. group 5,705 3,345
are indicating the inequality existing in primary school level both in
general terms and according to sex. After such an inadequate primary
education, a chance of future employment depends on entering a private
or state secondary school where education is based on a foreign
foreign schools with heavy tuitions are established mostly in the
cities of first group and rare some in the third group. Entering such
schools means to succeed in an inhuman "examination marathon". For the
students who would not able to pay school fees even if they could won
such entrance examinations as a result of a "miracle", the route of
life is determined already in primary school level.
who are forced to abandon this "marathon" even before starting, most of
the others are eliminated on the way. For instance in 1987 134,436
primary school graduates entered to such examination and only 13% of
them had the chance to enter such schools promising a relatively secure
Empty classrooms with no teaching
equipment and no teachers await those who attend ordinary schools. An
example can be given in field of physical education. In 1982-83, 23% of
secondary schools in 1. group, 59% in 2. group and 61.2% in 3. group
had no physical education. If we consider the matter according the sex,
we should take into account the fact that in our country women teachers
are assigned for the physical education of girls. In this case, it
should be mentioned that during the same year there were only 71 women
physical education staff in 852 schools in the 2. group, that means 92%
girls ins this group could not have physical education. In the same
way, the 90% of girls in the 3. group and 59% of first group could not
have the chance to practice physical education.
Stressing the fact that only half
of the secondary-school age children can attend school, following,
following figures (1982,83) can be given:
NUMBER OF STUDENTS
1. group 658,988
2. group 212,221 54,613
3. group 1,222,093 411,282
A striking fact appearing under
these circumstances is that, while girls count so less than boys in
filed of regular education, they outnumber boys in Koran cours that are
used as an instrument of defense and organization by reactionary
powers. According to official figures (that are far away from
reflecting reality), the number of children-youth attending such
courses was 105,778 in 1982-83 and in all three groups girls
outnumbered boys in attendance.
Inequality in higher education
level constitutes a far more dark picture. According to 1983 figures,
out of total number of 164 faculties and 109 higher education
institutions, 145 are established in 1. group. The other groups mostly
have "universities" that were opened after 12 September coup and have
no more than just buildings.
(According to UNESCO
classification of sciences) distribution of students in universities in
1983-84 all over Turkey is as follows:
NUMBER OF FEMALE
SCIENCES STUDENTS STUDENTS
Humanities 19,805 6,773
Educational Sciences 50,423 20,987
Fine Arts 4,410 2,144
Law 14,093 8,122
Positive and Natural
Sciences 17,686 7,710
Social Sciences 108,582 34,166
Engineering 65,777 13,222
Medical Sciences 31,246 18,425
Agriculture 11,353 2,939
Of course the meaning of being university graduate is opened to
discussion in a country that has more than 6 million unemployed with an
annual rate of 20%.
Although they do not reflect the reality in full picture, even the
following official figures are enough to reach conclusion:
TOTAL POPULATION ILLITERATE
(1980) 6+ years MALES FEMALES
1. group: 8,279,911 473,193
2. group: 6,198,882 1,065,604
3. group: 23,044,830 2,299,685
DISTIRBUTION OF ILLITERATE FEMALES ACCORDING TO AGE GROUPS (1980)
AGE GROUPS POPULATION FEMALE
6-14 4,933,523 1,716,095
15-19 2,404,442 605,833
19-24 1,975,835 645,136
25-29 1,656,165 669,936
30-34 1,321,174 617,933
35-39 1,119,238 719,739
40-44 1,068,128 742,841
45-49 964,296 596,637
50-54 867,151 495,227
55-59 558,498 313,517
60-64 417,352 397,326
65+ 1,157,887 874,648
TOTAL 18,524,552 8,394,868
As it is seen, in every age group
women are deprived of their basic right to education and to gain
knowledge in any field, from obtaining their economic independence to
And last of all, figures
concerning educational level of literate women (over 6 ages) can be
DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATE WOMEN
Primary school 5,821,000
Secondary school 677,000
Vocational school (secondary)
High school 397,000
Vocational school (high) 286,000
Higher education institutes 215,000
All these figures are reflecting
how the ruling circles are approaching problem of education and problem
of education and problem of providing equal opportunities in education.
Besides that facts we mentioned above, one should also bear in mind the
anti-democratic content of education that we have not dealt within the
frame of this piece of work.
CONFERENCE OF "FRIENDS OF TURKEY"
The first international conference of "Friends of
Turkey" (Amis de Turquie) was held on November 27-29, 1987, at the
French National Assembly halls in Paris. Mr. Costa Gomes, former
president of Portugal, chaired the conference as the honorary
president of the initiative, composed of prominent international
figures in fields of politics, education, culture, science and sport.
Representing Turkey there were more than 40 writers,
journalists, politicians, scientists, trade unionists and artists who
came from Turkey and from European countries where they live in exile.
The conference discussed political, legal, cultural
and human rights situation in Turkey. Four working committees were
established to bring out proposals, approaches and views of the
participants on the concerned subjects.
Last day, the conference adopted an Appeal in which
Turkish State authorities are asked to fulfill their obligations
concerning human rights. It is also stated that the situation
concerning human right violations is to be thoroughly followed,
meanwhile international institutions such as European Parliament called
to contribute to this end effectively.
STORMY DEBATE ON KURD QUESTION
Uproar broke out in the Turkish National Assembly on
January 20, 1988, when an opposition MP criticised the oppression of
Kurds in south-eastern Turkey -the first time such a speech has been
Mr. Mehmet Ali Eren of the main opposition Social
Democrat Populist Party (SHP) said in a debate that Kurds were
prevented from speaking and writing their own language, and the
traditional names of their villahes had been changed.
Breaking tradition by naming "Kurds", Mr. Eren
compared their plight with that of the Turkish minorities in
The Turksih Government has accused Bulgaria of
assimilating its estimated 1,5 million ethnic Turks, and Greece of
insisting that the country's estimated 120,000 ethnic Turks call
themsleves Greek Muslims.
Mr. Eren said: "We condemn the plight of the Turkish
minority in Greece and Bulgaria. If some minorities in Turkey are being
oppressed, we should condemnet this too.""
His remarks were met by boos and catcalls from
government MPs. "There are Turkis in Turkey," shouted a deputy of the
The Interior Minister Kalemli interrupted the session. "Such an address
shouldn't be allowed on the platform of Atatürk," he said, referring to
the founder of the Republic.
Mr. Kalemli said that what had been referred to as
"a minority that should have its own language" was not recognised, and
he quoted passages from the Constitution to catcalls from some
A PARLIAMENTARY REPORT ON KURDS
Four main opposition SHP deputies, Adnan Ekmen,
Mehmet Karaman, Ibrahim Aksoy and Cumhur Keskin, after having a round
in re region, have drawn up a a detailed report on the situation in
South-eastern Anatolia who live Kurds.
The deputies concluded that:
- The State has turned the denunciation into an
- Security forces shoot on sight whosoever goes out
in the night,
- The State considers all citizens "suspects",
- Criminals are used by the State to intimidate
- Whoever refuses to be "village protector" is
subjected to pressure,
- Many people have been the victims of mined areas,
- The State constructs Gendarme stations instead of
work places for the people,
- Peasants are forced to deportation.
"THE GENERALS' COUP IN TURKEY"
One of the best-sellers in Turkey, journalist Mehmet
Ali Birand's book The Generals' Coup in Turkey (The Inside Story of 12
September 1980) is now available in translation to the English-speaking
world. Birand has interviewed 165 of the protagonists of the coup and
gained extensive access to previously unreleased documents. His
resulting account of the dramatic events of 12 September, and his
perceptions of the motivation behind the officers who took part, make
this book a fascinating read.
The book is translated and introduced by Mehmet Ali
Dikerdem, a Turkish academic living in the Great Britain, and published
by Brassey's Defence Publishers Ltd. in London.
ON THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
In the last issue of Info-Türk, we produced a report
of the Heritage Foundation asking the Reagan Administration to increase
its support to the Ozal administration in Turkey.
According to New Statesman of May 29, 1987, the
Heritage Foundation is the most influential and furthest right
think-tank in the United States. It "has chanelled $1 million over the
past five years to right-wing organisations in Brtain and, in a smaller
way, to other West European countries. The money has been paid with the
direct aim of influencing domestic politics in the United Kingdom,
"said the British monthly.
"Heritage, mainly financed by Joesph Coors, a US
beer baron and right-wing ideologue, is now bidding to be the core of a
'Conservative International'. Already closer than any other similar
centre to President Reagan, Heritage now has the contacts and the funds
to further its programmes, which it defines as designed 'to make the
voices of responsible conservatism heard in Washington, D.C...and in
the capitals of the world'.
"Heritage's international activities have been
helped by its easy entree to Reagan administration circles. In 1982
President Reagan appointed Heritage Foundation President Edwin J.
Feulner Jr. chairman of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy,
which evaluates programmes of the USIA including the Voice of America,
Radio Marti, Fullbright scholarships and the National Endowment for
"Heritage-funded projects in Europe became more
systematic in 1982, when US and British conservatives grew alarmed at
the growing influence of the peace movement. In May that yuear Heritage
disseminated a 'backgrounder' on 'Moscow and Peace Offensive', in which
it called on NATO and 'its affiliated public support organisations' to
spread 'information concerning the links... between known Communist
front groups and the 'independent' peace groups.
"In an interview with Inter-Nation, Heritage
Foundation Vice-President Burton Yale Pines predicted: 'Maybe the next
step will be to organise some kind of Conservative International.' He
suggested this could take the form of an alliance of as many as 20
like-minded groups in the United States, Britain, France, West Germany,
Japan and other countries. During the last six years, the Geritage
Foundation has been a major force behind the 'Reagan Revolution'. The
Reagan Administration itself will come to an end by 1988. Heritage will
do its best, however, to ensure that the principles of Reaganism
continue to shape policies far beyond the borders of the United States."